Another rough week for the AFC South as a whole. Of course, for us Colts fans, it was an excellent week in the AFC South. This week, the four teams keep it within the division. Which means, at the very least, the South can't have a losing record again this week.
Let's check out the state of the AFC South as we turn toward Week 4 of the NFL season.
Houston Texans (2-1)
Looking Back: It was not a good week for the Texans. Not at all. First, the previous undefeated Texans were dismantled by Jacoby Brissett and the New England Patriots to the tune of a 27-0 drubbing. Aside from a poor team game, the news got worse for Houston. It was announced late last night that the Texans would be putting JJ Watt on the injured reserve after the star defender re-injured his back. As Colts fans have learned twice in the last 5 years, losing your best player hurts. Badly. Watt is Houston's star, and absence will likely seriously affect the Houston team.
Looking Ahead: The Texans return home to face the division rival Titans. Part of me wonders why this isn't a bigger rivalry, with the
Titans Oilers leaving Houston for Tennessee in the 1990s. Oh well. So far the Titans defense has been stout this season, which could pose a challenge to Brock Osweiler and the underwhelming Titan offense. Then again, the Titans offense has been underwhelming this year as well. This could be an ugly low scoring game.
Prediction: Even without Watt, the Texans are the better team. And they're at home. Give me the Texans in this one.
Indianapolis Colts (1-2)
Looking Back: From winless to tied for second in the division. Yes, that's more of an indictment on the AFC South than anything else, but it sounds nice. The Colts got the job done against the Chargers last week, although it was harder than it needed to be. And, here's a surprise, the Colts emerged mostly unscathed from injuries. Joe Reitz went down, but aside from that, the Colts are appearing to get healthy, which is huge.
Looking Ahead: London. The Colts kick off at 9:30 am this Sunday (or 8:30 for those of us Central Time people), so set your alarms! While abroad, the Colts will be taking on division rival Jacksonville. Last time the teams met...well, let's try to forget about that game. If the Colts can run the ball similarly to last week, and the defense continues to not play too bad (really, they haven't been bad the last two games) the Colts should be fine.
Prediction: This is almost a desperation game for the Jaguars. But I'll still take the Colts.
Tennessee Titans (1-2)
Looking Back: The good: the Titans held the Raiders high powered offense to 17 points. The bad: the Titans offense could only muster 10 points against a defense that allowed 500+ yards the first two games. Much like the Colts tried to do in the early Chuck Pagano years, the Titans are seemingly trying to establish a run first offense. As nice as that is, that strategy just won't work in today's NFL. Unleash Mariota.
Looking Ahead: As noted above, the Titans will head to Houston for their first division battle. I'm sure that the Titans will try to run the ball, and exploit a JJ Watt-less defense. Still, if the Titans couldn't score points against the Raiders, I'm not sold on their ability to do so against the Texans.
Prediction: As I noted, I'm giving this one to the Texans.
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3)
Looking Back: Oh so close. The Jaguars again lost in the closing seconds. After losing, essentially, on a 4th and 1 against the Packers in Week 1, the Jaguars got knocked off on a last second field goal by the Ravens. Of course, that kick was followed with a Blake Bortles pick. And let's not forget about the blowout in San Diego. The season hasn't been great, and I'm guessing Gus Bradley is firmly on the hot seat.
Looking Ahead: The Jaguars "host" the Colts this week in London. This is hugely dependent on what Jaguars team shows up. Will it be the team that nearly took down the Ravens and Packers? Or the team that got destroyed by the Chargers? We'll see, but the Jaguars always seem to play the Colts tough.
Prediction: Again, as noted, I'm taking the Colts.